Special Issue "Sports and Health: Attitudes and Issues in Creating Sustainability within the Mountain Biking and Surfing Communities"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Geraint Florida-James
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, UK
Interests: mountain bike innovation; exercise immunology; performance physiology
Dr. Easkey Britton
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Interests: surfing, environment and society; health and wellbeing
Dr. Tony Westbury
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH11 4BN, UK
Interests: exercise science; health and wellbeing; mountain bike science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sports of surfing and mountain biking are similar in that they present the new participant with a novel environment which requires the acquisition of skills to successfully navigate the physical challenges presented by each of the sports. Similarly, each sport has developed its own distinct communities and even within each sport their own subcultures. There is an increasing awareness that participating in physical sport in outdoor environments has more benefits than just the physical, even more so now as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sports of surfing and mountain biking are taking steps to embrace and create models of best practice within these areas of physical and mental health benefits. We are keen to explore these benefits whilst investigating some of the potential barriers to growth and, more particularly, sustainable growth in these two sports. This Special Issue will focus on scientific research related to the positive benefits to physical and mental health and wellbeing of participating in these two adventure sports whilst detailing the challenges that face both sports in creating sustainable futures, both in terms of their respective environments and growing their participant bases. We invite paper submissions in the following four areas:

  1. Physiological and physical processes involved in training, competing and recovery within surfing and mountain biking and how these link in with:
  2. The benefits to an individual and the collective wellbeing of participating in surfing and mountain biking. Papers that specifically make reference to the COVID-19 pandemic landscape would be particularly welcome;
  3. Challenges and potential solutions to diversification issues within the participant demographic of surfing and mountain biking—can we make the sports more accessible by challenging health behaviors and promoting good practice in underrepresented groups, particularly women? 
  4. Making mountain biking and surfing globally sustainable. Can engagement with the scientific community, particularly the disciplines of environmental science, engineering and industrial ecology result in sustainable infrastructure and products? How important is sustainability to these two particular sports?

Prof. Dr. Geraint Florida-James
Dr. Easkey Britton
Dr. Tony Westbury
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Health geography
  • Sense of community
  • Quality of life
  • Outdoor physical activity
  • Mental health and well being
  • Environmental exposure

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
A Mixed Methods Exploration of Surf Therapy Piloted for Youth Well-Being in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6267; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126267 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Young people in post-conflict and post-epidemic contexts such as Sierra Leone face a range of mental health challenges as part of their daily life. An innovative approach to Sport for Development that could offer support to youth mental health is surf therapy. This [...] Read more.
Young people in post-conflict and post-epidemic contexts such as Sierra Leone face a range of mental health challenges as part of their daily life. An innovative approach to Sport for Development that could offer support to youth mental health is surf therapy. This research used an uncontrolled mixed methods approach to explore surf therapy pilots run by five youth-focused and community development organizations around Freetown. Four sites provided useable pre/post data using the Stirling Children’s Well-Being Scale (n = 58, average age = 12.9). Three sites were associated with significant (p < 0.017) large effects (r = 0.65–0.84) on participant well-being. One site was associated with a non-significant (p < 0.380) small negative effect (r = −0.22). A synthesis of qualitative data within the five evaluations triangulated with quantitative findings and provided important context in terms of challenges to service delivery. This included low attendance as a plausible mediator for why one site saw very different results than other sites. Combined, these processes highlight the need for future research exploring possible dose-response relationships in surf therapy. This study also provides a foundation for more rigorous research in the future. These promising findings support continued and optimized delivery of surf therapy in Sierra Leone to support youth mental health. Full article
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Article
Ocean Literacy and Surfing: Understanding How Interactions in Coastal Ecosystems Inform Blue Space User’s Awareness of the Ocean
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5819; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115819 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 860
Abstract
Intergovernmental policy is targeting public ocean literacy to help achieve the societal changes needed to reach a sustainable ocean agenda within a 10-year timeframe. To create a culture of care for the ocean, which is under threat from Anthropocentric pressures, informed ocean citizens [...] Read more.
Intergovernmental policy is targeting public ocean literacy to help achieve the societal changes needed to reach a sustainable ocean agenda within a 10-year timeframe. To create a culture of care for the ocean, which is under threat from Anthropocentric pressures, informed ocean citizens are central to upholding meaningful actions and best practices. This research focuses on recreational ocean users, specifically surfers and how their blue space activities may inform understanding of ocean processes and human-ocean interconnections. The Ocean Literacy Principles were used to assess ocean awareness through surfing interactions. An online survey questionnaire was completed by 249 participants and reduced to a smaller sample focus group. Qualitative and quantitative data were triangulated to develop further understanding of surfer experiences, using the social-ecological systems framework to model surfing outcomes. The results found that surfers indeed receive ocean literacy benefits, specifically three out of the seven Ocean Literacy Principles and that ocean literacy is a direct benefit many surfers in the sample group receive. By identifying synergies between the Ocean Literacy Principles, variables within coastal ecosystems and user (surfer) interactions, this research offers novel insight into opportunities for integrating ocean sustainability strategies through blue space activity mechanisms and coastal community engagement. Full article
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Article
Gender Differences in Psychological Outcomes Following Surf Therapy Sessions among U.S. Service Members
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4634; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094634 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Surf therapy is increasingly being used as an intervention to address various health problems, including psychological symptoms. Although recent research supports the positive impact of surf therapy on psychological outcomes, it is unclear whether these outcomes differ between men and women. This study [...] Read more.
Surf therapy is increasingly being used as an intervention to address various health problems, including psychological symptoms. Although recent research supports the positive impact of surf therapy on psychological outcomes, it is unclear whether these outcomes differ between men and women. This study compared changes in depression/anxiety (Patient Health Questionnaire-4), positive affect (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), and pain (Numerical Pain Rating Scale) between U.S. service men and women (N = 74) during six weekly surf therapy sessions. Overall, participants reported decreased depression/anxiety (p < 0.001) and increased positive affect (p < 0.001), but no change in pain rating following each session (p = 0.141). Significant gender differences were found in the magnitude of changes in depression/anxiety (B = −1.01, p = 0.008) and positive affect (B = 4.53, p < 0.001) during surf sessions, despite no differences in pre-session scores on either outcome. Women showed greater improvements in depression/anxiety and positive affect compared with men—an important finding, given that surfing and military environments are often socially dominated by men. Future research is needed to replicate these findings in other samples, extend this research to other underrepresented populations, and identify barriers and facilitators of the sustainable implementation of surf therapy across populations. Full article
Article
Immune Response of Elite Enduro Racers to Laboratory and Racing Environments: The Influence of Training Impulse and Vibration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4603; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094603 - 26 Apr 2021
Viewed by 785
Abstract
Introduction: Understanding the sport-specific immune response elicited during both training and competition is imperative to maximise athlete health and performance. Despite a growing population of professional enduro mountain bike athletes, little is known about the recovery of the immune system following enduro racing [...] Read more.
Introduction: Understanding the sport-specific immune response elicited during both training and competition is imperative to maximise athlete health and performance. Despite a growing population of professional enduro mountain bike athletes, little is known about the recovery of the immune system following enduro racing events. Methods: Nine international level elite enduro mountain bike athletes (age 24.3 ± 2.4 years, height 178.5 ± 8.7 cm, mass 76.5 ± 12.5 kg) completed a laboratory-based maximal exercise test (LAB) on a cycle ergometer and competed in an international mountain bike enduro race event (RACE). Blood samples were taken before, immediately after, and 1 h after LAB and before, 1 h after, and 17 h after RACE. Leukocyte subsets were enumerated using seven-colour flow cytometry. Lucia’s training impulse (LuTRIMP) and vibration exposure (VIB) were quantified during RACE. Results: Seven participants were included in the final analyses. There was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in neutrophil count alongside a reduction of cytotoxic lymphocyte cell subsets of both the innate (CD3/CD56+ NK-cells and CD3/CD56dim NK-cells) and adaptive (CD8+/CD62L/CD45RA T-cells and CD8+/CD27+/CD28 T-cells) components of the immune system one hour after RACE. All cell counts returned to baseline values 17 h afterwards (p > 0.05). Cell subset redistribution from pre- to post-one-hour time points (%Δpre-post1h) in cell subsets with potent effector functions (Neutrophils, CD3/CD56+ NK-cells, CD8+/CD62L/CD45RA T-cells, CD8+/CD27+/CD28 T-cells, and CD3/CD56dim/CD57 NK-cells) was significantly greater at RACE than LAB (p < 0.05). VIB was shown to be a superior predictor of %Δpre-post1h CD4+ T-cells, CD4+ early T-cells, CD4+ naïve T-cells, and NK cells as compared with LuTRIMP on its own (ΔR2 = 0.63 − 0.89, p < 0.05). Conclusions: The race event offers a greater challenge to the immune system than LAB, and potentially, whole body vibration is a key component of training load measurement in mountain bike applications. Full article
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